Royal rumble

Jabarrie Hurdle

by Kimberley Cummins

It was a royal rumble last night at the most recent round of the Richard Stoute Teen talent contest.

Jabarrie Hurdle and Chantal Jemmott went head to head, each trying his/her best to outdo the other. When the dust cleared in the first half, a mere two points separated them. In the end, Hurdle’s vocal ability proved too much and he gained 667 to be named winner of the fourth preliminary.

His rendition of Neil Sedaka’s 1972 hit Solitaire, made famous by the Carpenters, was dynamic. But an amazing performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water was what snatched the title and sent the Plantation Garden Theatre audience wild.

His voice was incredibly strong; with a fluency in Italian and French it would have been hard to imagine his diction could be anything but flawless. It must be noted that he has one of the best microphone techniques in the competition. Hurdle came close to winning the competition last year and by his confidence one could assume that he has no plans to let this title slip his grasp again. One area he needs to work one would have to be dress; his attire did not match his sound or performance.

Simply beautiful are the first words which would come to mind upon seeing Jemmott. She looked as gorgeous as the morning in her yellow, halter top chiffon gown which flowed serenely as she glided regally across the stage throughout her performance.

With her natural twist streaming down her face she asked for One Night Only. Her take on the Jennifer Holliday hit was lovely and her voice was sweet. On the other hand, she seemed a bit too reserved during the rendition.

The sign language trained singer improved her game in the second half and blew away those in ear shot with her rendition of Blown Away by Carrie Underwood — and the audience erupted.

Meesha Collymore earned 591 points for her renditions of Broken Hearted Girl and Someone Like You by Adele. She may not have one of the best voices but she has the presence of a star. The beauty was off key for most of the first song but improved much singing the Adele number. She was very dramatic, she was fearless, she was passionate. With some vocal lessons she can improve but if it does not work out she should delve into acting.

Mico Johnson was the lone contestant in the 6 to 12 category. He was impressive and singing Amazing Grace and Michael Jackson’s The Way You Make Me Feel, his voice showed significant improvement over his last year. The small but appreciative crowd was very loud and robust when he impersonated the late great MJ and his antics even left chief judge, Sheldon Hope, grinning broadly. Johnson earned 647 points and will advance to the semi-finals. Jamar Connell’s performance of I Can’t Make You Love Me and Luther Vandross’ Dance With My Father Again earned him 562 points and an advancement to the next round.

Other contestants were Mikaila Collymore, Jelesa Mayers, Crystal Hope and Sharise Smart. The show was dedicated to the six young women who lost their lives in the Campus Trendz fire in what is considered one of the most horrific tragedies in modern day Barbados. Today marked the secondary anniversary of the deaths of Kelly-Ann Welch, Kellishaw Olliverre, Pearl Cornelius, Nikkita Belgrave, Tiffany Harding and Shanna Griffith and it was a night of reflection and celebration of their lives.

2011 winner, Everdene Smart gave a heartfelt rendition of Gone Too Soon by Michael Jackson and His Eye Is On The Sparrow. When she sang one could hear a pin drop as photos of the six women were displayed on the two screens placed on each side of the stage. Both Lillian Lorde and Richard Stoute also paid tribute in song while David Comissiong spoke.

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